It has become tradition to welcome each new year with a renewed enthusiasm toward one’s health. As the clock approaches midnight and with Champagne glass in hand, we promise to eat less, drink less, and treat our bodies with more care and attention than in the previous 12 months. Your Man About Town is no stranger to this phenomenon, so in an attempt to literally strip away the excesses of 2012, I scheduled an end-of-year full-body exfoliation and facial at River Falls Spa.
I was welcomed to this discreet establishment, located just off of Main Street in downtown Greenville, by a woman named Susan who escorted me down a long hall toward the men’s lounge. The lighting was warm and delicate, and soft music flowed through the interiors as if Yanni himself might be lurking around each corner. After changing into a luxurious robe, I was introduced to Jessica who led me to the exfoliation room. The room was furnished with a cushioned table positioned under a Vichy shower, a horizontal array of shower heads that reminded me of an automated car wash.
Jessica handed me a small pouch containing disposable briefs I was to put on when she left the room. After a few confusing moments trying to determine the front from the back, I slipped the briefs on to realize it made no difference. I was lying face
up on the table when Jessica returned with the exfoliating scrub, a blend of oils, sea salt, sugar, and secret ingredients. Taking a cue from my wide eyes and red cheeks, Jessica kindly asked if I felt “exposed.” I told her I felt exposed when my second shirt button was undone, so in a word, YES. She produced a towel and throughout the treatment, including occasional repositioning, used it to keep my discreet areas covered with the deftness of a burlesque artist handling a feather fan.
From the tops of my shoulders to the soles of my feet, Jessica massaged the scrub into my flesh until I felt as if I’d been dragged across wet sand by a team of wild horses. With the Vichy shower now on, Jessica gently rubbed my body as the scrub and millions of dead skin cells washed over the edge of the table and down the drain. The rinse was a moment of pure metamorphosis. It was as if last year’s skin was literally sliding off to reveal new, revitalized flesh. After drying me off, Jessica moisturized my skin with lotion as I contemplated what item in my monthly budget I could forgo to replace with this treatment on regular basis.
With new flesh from the neck down, it was time to attack the face. Jessica handed me off to facial expert Sharon who immediately asked if I wore sunscreen. After gently reprimanding me for my answer, Sharon proceeded to cleanse my face with a restorative scrub. A steam treatment was applied to open my pores and to allow the next procedure, a volcanic mask, to penetrate deep into my skin. Once dry, Sharon removed the mask and began the extraction phase, a process of removing blackheads too ghastly to commit to print. Moisturizer, with sunscreen, was then applied and I was finally, from head to toe, a new man.
Back in the men’s lounge, I relaxed in the steam room and made resolutions for the coming year, including scheduling periodic exfoliations, massages, and facials. A little lighter and a little pinker, I dressed and walked to the lobby where Susan greeted me with a strawberry and small piece of pineapple. The total for both services was less than a night’s stay in a luxury hotel and the benefits much more noticeable. As I climbed the stairs toward Main Street, the sun was setting and the air felt cool against my freshly scrubbed cheeks. With a spring in my step, I crossed the street toward the bar at Soby’s, where the last excesses of 2012 waited impatiently.